20 Feb Bote Flood Aero
Bote Flood Aero
For all intents and purposes, Bote iSUPS are fishing boats masquerading as paddle boards. What’s nice about the Flood Aero is that while other SUPs in this lineup really serve one purpose (though in fairness they do it well), this board is the point where you have a good deal of the functionality mixed in with a solid iSUP.
- Lots of storage
- Multi-purpose board
- Handles great on multiple types of water
- Rac Receivers give additional functionality
- Accessories could be improved
- Backpack doesn’t hold all gear inside
- Longer setup if you want to use additional features
- Single layer construction
Table of Contents
|10′ 6″||30″||4.5||230 lbs||35 lbs|
The length, 11’, is just about perfect for most paddle boarders and the Flood Aero doesn’t disappoint. It gives you the speed that most rider would want without making too much of a sacrifice when it comes to turning and other maneuverings. This SUP glides on the water without any noticeable drag or weight concerns to slow you down.
Where this SUP really shines, though, it with its stability. The 32” width is just about what we would expect in a typical board, but even so, the Flood is probably one of the most stable 32” wide boards we’ve seen. It shouldn’t come a surprise, though, since the flat bottom and reinforced rails help you not to feel like you’re going to tip over unless the water gets super choppy.
Speaking of choppy, we are impressed with how well it performs in relatively rough water. Don’t expect to be going out in A Perfect Storm conditions, but as long as you keep moving forward, you can expect a get around just fine. You’ll even be able to catch some modest sized surf.
If you know anything about Bote products — iSUPs or otherwise — you’ll probably know that they have a strong reputation for their onboard features. After all, the focus is more on fishing than simply paddleboarding, which is why you’ll see a lot more available options on this line of iSUP than just about any other on the market.
Let’s start off with the types of features we would expect to see here. We start with the BVA deck pad this is on all Bote iSUPs, compared to the usually EVA foam pad we see on most other brands. This ultra comfy pack is designed in such a way to not only allow you to stand or sit for long periods of time on the deck, it also works to shed any water that may make its way on the deck.
The Flood Aero sports 3 grab handles — the standard one on the middle of the deck for transport on land as well as at the tail and nose handles for movement in and out of the water. We cannot say this enough: all boards should have a handle on the tail. This is because it allows you to drag the SUP on the beach without worrying about damaging the fins.
One of the things that sets this line of iSUPS apart from most others are the accessory integration systems. On this board specifically, there are 2 attachment points toward the back of the deck. We’ll get into some of the available accessories later in this review. Beyond what you can purchase from Bote directly, you can use the points to attach a GoPro, rod holder or even a fish finder.
Just forward of the accessory attachment points you’ll find 2 cooler tie downs. Essentially, these are just free D-rings that have been reinforced to allow you to have a heavier cooler on the deck without having to worry about it slipping and sliding around.
Lastly, along the both sides there are attachment points for their Travelink strap and on the right side of the board a paddle holder. Be advised that this is apparently not on all versions of the Flood, though we don’t see which version doesn’t have this.
Bote’s Flood Aero comes in 1 of 4 design packages. Native Floral has strong Hawaiian vibe with a faux wood top with flowers on the nose. Full Trax Lime is exactly what is says it is — stripes along the deck with lime green accents. Native Serape takes inspiration from Southern Western native American color schemes along the nose and a striped deck. The last option is called Full Trax Navy which is exactly like the Lime except the accents are in — you guessed it — navy blue.
The bottom of the board is completely flat to give extra balance to the paddler. On the nose of the board, you’ll notice a that it’s upturned more than you might see on other SUPs. This is called an entry rocker and is put there to shed water, making it easier to get through choppy water.
As what we would expect with a board like this, the Flood Aero sports a 3-fin setup underneath the board. The large center fin is removable while the side fins are not. This allows you the option of taking off that center fin for easer storage or if you in super shallow water. Considering that that so much of these boards are customizable and have accessories all over the place, we’re a bit disappointed to not have these side fin removable as some other of their competitors are seen doing.
This SUP has quite a bit more storage space than the model below it, the Bote Breeze Aero. On the nose of the board you’ll find the 6-point bungee storage area plus a 4-point bungee storage area in the back. These are ideal for storing dry bags or additional gear for quick access.
When comparing these to other iSUPS, one of the most unique things about the Bote Aero line of iSUPS is that while they’re made of the quality military grade PVC that we would expect to find, it is only a single layer, compared to the 2, 3 or even 4 layers we typically see on most iSUPs. For almost any other brand, a single layer would be a giant red flag for a low-quality board and an automatic no-go.
The good news here is that the Bote Flood Aero is made with a single layer, not because they were cutting corners, but because they use completely different construction model. Instead of building a board that gets its strength from multiple layers of material, Bote uses a system that fills the inside of the board with a composite material that makes it feel just about as hard as a solid board.
Flood Aero Bag: a backpack that allows you to be able to easily store and transport the SUP when not inflated. Unlike some similar brands, this bag doesn’t have wheels. Also, it doesn’t seem like it’s comfortable enough to carry round for a while, mostly just for putting it into the back of your car.
3-Piece Fiberglass Paddle: this paddle is made of one of the lightest yet strong materials that we see in SUP paddles of this level. Quick to adjust and easy to break apart and put back together. Bote makes a point to let their customers know that this paddle does not float in the water.
Detachable Center Fin: Having the ability to take the fin off makes for easier storage and gives you the option to not use the fin in shallower waters. This uses its own specific type of fin box which makes it non-compatible with third-party US fin box fins.
Hand pump: A basic hand pump is included to allow you to inflate the board on site. We would have liked to have seen a double chamber pump.
Repair Kit: This includes everything you need to make minor repairs to the board if there are tears or rips. We’re happy to see that this kit includes glue and not just patches like we see from other comparable brands’ repair kits. The glue isn’t expensive, but this detail means that the company cares.
Rac Receivers: These are points that you can screw onto the board at two attachment points towards the back of the deck. With these mounted, you’re able to attach the rac accessories that are sold separately.
Travelink Sling: This attaches to 2 D-rings on either sides of the board and lets you travel over long distances than simply holding the center handle.
Onyx Inflatable Lifejacket: This compact lifejacket contains a CO2 cartridge that gives you the same amount of buoyancy as a jacket many times its size. This helps it to stay out of the way.
Aeropump: This high-quality electric pump gives you the option to use your car’s cigarette lighter or battery as a power source. Probably one of the best electric iSUP air pumps on the market.
Tackle Rac: Now we’re starting to get serious about the fishing aspect of a Bote and the company said that it is by far the most popular of their racs. This attachment inserts into the rac receivers quickly and without any real effort. There are two pegs near the top to keep your gear high and out of the water. On the back, there are 2 rod holders that will accommodate conventional, spinning or fly reels so that you can either just have them sitting there without you having to hold them or so that you can do some SUP trolling. It’s made with marine grade aluminum and powder coated for your choice of color.
Bucket Rac: This is for you who really want to bring a bucket with you either for bait, storing your catch or just to load up with refreshments of the soft or hard varieties. Although lower than the Tackle Rac, one of the benefits is that it can hold 4 rods compared to just 2. You can fit a standard 5 gallon bucket or use the optional KULA coolers.
KULA Cooler: Designed in-house, this cooler comes in both 2.5 and 5 gallon models and both hard and soft materials. However, most of the best features are in the hard-shell model. It can be opened with one hand and the handle even has an integrated bottle opener. The bottom has slip resistant feet and the top is made if the same material that they use on the deck. This is so that you can sit or even stand on it without having to worry about any water on your cooler. The last feature that we really liked is that there are grooves in the bucket itself so that when the cooler is open, you can rest your rod in a place where it won’t slip out.
Palms Towel: It’s a…towel. In their defense, it’s made out of high-quality cotton and is super thick, but it’s still an expensive towel. But hey! They put the Bote logo and palm trees on it — so there’s that.
Bote offers a wide range of ways to purchase. While you can purchase at one of hundreds of dealers throughout North America, they aren’t sold in larger sports supply stores. For most of us, buying online might just be the best bet. You can purchase through Amazon[i] or via their own webstore[ii]. Regardless of how it’s purchased online, there is always free shipping in the lower 48 states.
Something we love to see in a SUP is a generous return policy. Bote offers a 60-return policy if you don’t like it for any reason. Above and beyond that, you have a 2-year limited warranty for any defects on the board itself.
If you purchase from Bote directly, you have the option purchasing via Affirm. This option, although not unique to Bote, gives you the option to finance the board interest free for up to 12 months. Remember that this is not a program via Bote, so any questions you have about the process needs to go to Affirm directly.
One of the reasons we love this SUP is because it gives you the best of both worlds. The Bote Breeze Aero is just your standard iSUP and the other Bote iSUPs are really geared towards fishing. With the Flood Aero, you have the option to do one or the other using the same board.
If you’re looking to really take advantage of what Bote SUPs can do, you may want to consider going up a notch or two on their lineup. That being said, these are not cheap boards. There are other iSUPs out there for fishing (but not too many) at somewhat lower prices. Also, the accessories that we mentioned can be a bit pricey as well. If you get carried away, you can end up spending well over $1000 just hit the water. That being said, we would have liked to have seen better quality accessories — like the bag and air pump — for what you pay. Plus, the fact that this doesn’t include an ankle leash is a bit odd.
All and all, if you have the cash to spend and can easily find yourself either SUPing or fishing just as easily, we would definitely recommend the Bote Flood Aero. For the future, we just hope that they continue to evolve as their competition does the same.